January 29, 2008

Report on the 01.27.08 NAWC Meeting

NAWC Minutes – January 27, 2008

*Minutes taken by Carl Sack.
*Present: Adam Ritscher, Scott Bol, Gary Sorensen, Collette Knudson, Steve Wick, Linda Gokee, Kat (sic), Suzanne Griffiths, Andy Anderson, Jilouise Bronstead-Simonson, Shelly Galloway, Steve Carlson, Peter Krause, David Moultin, Joel Kilgour, Barb Russ, Carl Sack. Apolologies for mispellings.

-Committee Reports [Process, Outreach, Finances, Vision]
-Event Reports: Moratorium, Potluck, Canadian War Resisters
-Upcoming IVAW event
-National anti-war report
-Spring local anti-war action
-"Repress-U" and HR 888
-RNC Protest planning
-148th Fighter Wing education

1. Committee Reports:

-Outreach Committee (Collette) – Collette designed new thank-you cards using the NAWC logo, and would like to put a list of participating organizations on the back. The idea was generally approved. She volunteered to print and cover the initial costs. It was suggested that the file for the NAWC logo be placed on the NAWC website.

-Finance Committee (Peter) – We have $625 in the bank and $100 in cash. The finance committee will bring a proposal for a fund drive to the next general meeting.

-Vision (Joel) – Joel presented a general idea to get people on the periphery of the peace movement together for a visioning meeting some time in the future; the idea will be discussed and developed further by the committee before being presented as a proposal.

2. Previous Event Reports:

-Iraq Moratorium (Adam) – Seven hearty souls showed up to the January 18 vigil in Duluth, while only 2 came to the Superior vigil, and a traffic accident occurred at the scene. The forum raised $100 exactly. It was filmed by Gary S., who needs a volunteer(s) to help edit it for PACT-TV. It will also go on the Vets for Peace website. Feedback on the forum was discussed: good location, large crowd; could we have reached out more to communities of color? Differing opinions. Jil suggested reaching out to students at Fond du Lac college, which has a large percentage of minorities.

-Potluck (Carl) – Our first quarterly social potluck drew about 20 people and tons of food. One woman who came was Saleema, who brought Ratada Al-Tahiri (sic), a 15-year-old Iraqi foreign exchange student, from Baghdad, who is currently attending Harbor City International School in Duluth. We held a question and answer session with Ratada, who gave us a good window into real life in present-day Baghdad. He is very well-spoken with great English skills and wants to do other speaking engagements in a similar dialogue format. The possibility was mentioned of using him for a future "voices from Iraq" forum.

-Canadian War Resisters Vigil (Joel) – Four Duluthians drove down to the Canadian consulate in Minneapolis for a vigil with 6 Twin Citians. They met with the Consul and delivered letters in support of Canada agreeing to provide refuge for U.S. war resisters. Joel asked for and the group approved $20 in reimbursement for travel expenses.

3. Iraq Veterans Against the War events:

-Steve reported that UMD is ready to go for February 13th, they just need the fliers. The forum will be held in Life Science 175, a medium-sized lecture hall, which is reserved from 6-9 PM.

-Adam reported that UWS will happen at noon, the room is still TBD. We haven't heard back from anyone at LSC; Monday is the deadline, after which we will try CSS as a plan B. Jil volunteered to try to contact the president of FDL, and a social worker she knows at LSC.

4. National Anti-war Developments:

Further details are available from Adam, but here is the gist of the national anti-war movement's situation:

An international conference representing about 143 countries that took place in London resulted in a unanimous call for protests to happen on the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, which is March 19. All of those countries will be having protests then; the U.S. WILL NOT. Friction and infighting between the two big anti-war coalitions, UFPJ and ANSWER, and defaulting by leaders in favor of action in the electoral arena has resulted in the only actions being planned in this country for that time being the so-called Winter Soldier hearings conducted by IVAW and a small UFPJ-planned civil disobedience action to take place the weekend before or after. Cindy Sheehan attempted to call a conference to build a 5th anniversary mass protest, and was forced to cancel it because of the non-cooperation of the big organizations. This second default of the anti-war leaders has led to intense frustration among many rank-and-file activists and regional coalitions. A new ad-hoc coordinating committee has formed to set up a National Assembly to End the Iraq War & Occupation and to develop a call for a national conference in Cleveland, which will hopefully result in fall actions. NAWC endorsed the National Assembly and the Cleveland conference. If anyone who has not endorsed yet and wishes to can send an e-mail to adamritscher@gmail.com.

5. Local Spring Actions:

Adam presented a proposal to go forward with a local mass action on March 19th, consisting of a march starting 5 or 6 PM, an indoor rally, potluck and social, and a film festival running until 10 PM or so. Concerns were that other events were already being planned for either that Friday (the Iraq Moratorium day) or Saturday. A counter-proposal was passed that we hold a vigil and press conference on Wednesday to build the main actions, which would take place on Friday evening to coincide with the Moratorium. A committee was formed to plan the details, consisting of: Adam, Carl, Jil, Peter, Suzanne, and Andy or Cathy Anderson.

6. "Repress U" and HR 888:

Andy reported on an article on the latest issue of The Nation magazine about the activities of Homeland Security on college campuses, including "Free Speech Zones," heavily-armed campus security and increasing use of cameras. He encouraged people to watch for these things in the area.

Andy also reported on HR 888, which has some 30 signatories in the House right now, and would declare Christianity the official U.S. religion.

7. RNC Protest Planning:

Gary, Joel and Jil are planning to go down to the RNC anti-war organizing conference on February 9-10 to represent NAWC.

Kat came to the meeting to present as a member of the RNC Welcoming Committee Health Collective. They will be offering medical training for people in affinity groups going to the protest, including basic first aid, Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responder. She will be in Duluth Monday-Friday every week, and can be reached at (650) 867-0399 or donnelkh@umn.edu by anyone who would like to take advantage of this opportunity.

8. 148th Fighter Wing Education:

David reported that Michael Latsch is currently making a documentary against the combat role of the 148th and against them receiving new fighter planes. Loaves and Fishes is working on getting Chalmers Johnson to speak about economic alternatives to military bases, and would like NAWC's support. At present, NAWC has no position on the 148th receiving new planes or its presence, though it was brought up that when we got the anti-war city council resolution passed, one of the arguments against was that it might make the 148th a disfavorable choice for receiving new planes, forcing it to close and putting people out of work. It was decided to table this issue to the next meeting.

9. Announcements:

-Adam announced that there is a new issue of SA newspaper with significant coverage of the anti-war movement and Iraq. He also announced a forum on Mumia Abu-Jamal which occurred Sunday night.

-Carl announced that he is putting together the February NAWC calendar, and any submissions can be sent to northlandiguana@gmail.com within the next 1-2 days. Steve is mentioned that he is setting up a website for Students for Peace with an interactive calendar that he'll put events on.

-Joel announced that the trial of him, Peter and David's trial for trespassing at the federal building during the Strike for Peace is occurring February 6 at 1:30 PM in the St. Louis Country Courthouse.

10. New Facilitator:

The facilitator for the next meeting will be Steve Wick.

NEXT MEETING: Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2pm at the Chester Creek Cafe [1902 E. 8th St., Duluth MN]. Bring a friend!

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